The recent COVID pandemic has impacted every industry on a global scale – including the food industry. Add to this the Russian/Ukraine war, and we have a very challenging situation which could lead to food shortages.
What are the leading causes of the current food crises?
2022 has seen several food shortages already, with several causes influencing this. While just one of these issues alone could be cause for concern, all of them together mean there could potentially be more food shortages coming up.
But what are these causes?
The world’s largest meat processing company JBS were hacked in 2021, leading to a temporary shutdown of their operations in Australia, Canada and the US. They ended up paying £7.8 million in ransom to end the attack.
This isn’t the end of the story, though. It has led to a focus on the food industry that perhaps they hadn’t realised how susceptible they were to cyberattacks. Many of our current food supply relies on a small number of companies, and many don’t prioritise cybersecurity – leaving the entire food supply chain vulnerable.
#2 Climate change
One of the biggest threats to our food supply chain is climate change, especially extreme weather conditions like droughts and flooding. Food is becoming more expensive as climate change mitigation efforts increase energy prices. The water required for food production is also becoming scarcer due to drought and increased crop water usage.
#3 Labour shortages
The COVID pandemic of the last two years has highlighted many problems in the global economy, not least the severe labour shortage. This is a wide-ranging shortage in the food industry, impacting not only pickers and packers but also restaurants and retailers.
It should be no surprise that the jobs that are seeing the worst labour shortages are those with less desirable working conditions. Agriculture work is known as being back-breaking and a little dangerous, as are food packaging plants, so labour shortages in these areas have a negative impact.
There is also the issue of fresh foods being perishable, meaning any transport delays can lead to them being unfit to sell. There have been instances of meat, fruit and vegetables being left in shipping containers as there were no drivers available to deliver them.
#4 Scarcity of packing materials
This is an issue that many people may not even realise is an issue. The past couple of years have seen raw materials prove essential to the supply chain. Many foods and beverage companies have complained about can and bottle shortages in the past year alone. This has led to packaging plants being unable to operate as they need to. Therefore, there has been a shortage of items on supermarket and grocery shelves.
How can we avoid more food shortages?
There is not much we can do about the current food shortages, but we can try hard to ensure we don’t get into this situation again. Sustainability is key.
Many food production methods can be used to secure a more sustainable food supply. Here at Gelponics, we can provide you with a sustainable product and help you function as a crop grower without problems relating to climate change.
Our Gelponics growing media can be used in vertical farming – which is ideal for urban environments. No soil is used; you grow your plants in our Gelponics hydrogel. Your crops will be grown in a fully contained, controlled environment and so will thrive whatever the weather conditions are outside.
Urban agriculture like this improves shelf life by reducing the time the crop spends in transit; they are less likely to be bruised in shipping. They also avoid being exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations.
Please get in touch to discover more about you can sustainably support your crops through the whole growth cycle with Gelponics.